My father’s decision not to sign off on my mother’s return from a temporary stay in a nursery home, a devastating blow to the more gentle familiar protectorate my sister and I had in mind to keep her safe in because we started her journey into forgetting here together, also deserves to be acknowledged as the instigator of the universe we unambiguously had to create instead, to confront the dehumanization too often inherent to institutionalized care.
This jail of hideous ugliness we and she suddenly found ourselves in, notwithstanding the emotional burden of loss, didn’t exactly invite wandering and amazement, rather essential gear when surrounded or cornered by Alzheimer, or so we uncovered, trying to preserve our own sanity.
We resented the hiddenness of this remote macrocosm, way too cut off from normal day to day reality, too scary and incomprehensible for all to feel at ease with any of it, forbearing each others company as the only possible savior, a mighty beautiful savior that is, unyieldingly dragging us through years of horrific joy and zingy horror.
We shared our enthusiasm in conceiving ‘getting lost’ as a means to deeper understanding on a website called “Look, mama, time passes”, where I would daily post close up pictures of her, supplemented with a poetically condensed anecdote by my sister, together paraphrasing her days for everyone who wanted to know but was too hesitant to visit or join, no judgement intended, with the golden light in which she died as the final image of passing.
That universe, not just the website but the warm world we created in conjunction by intensely looking at and with her, cocooning like the blue raincoat I will forever picture her in, celebrated with liberating laughter when gloom would have been appropriate, disappeared with her, but then never really did. Fragments of it, fugaciously swirling, are to be deciphered in Les Pierres’ sheen, where hideous ugliness is strictly prohibited.
Mommy tightly squeezes the slip off her blouse when we enter her room. It’s not the same one she wore yesterday and she doesn’t accept that: “Quickly! Can you get those greens and blues and make them yellow? Yes? Verrrrrry beautiful!”